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Archive for September 8th, 2007

Ramsey Campbell – The Gruesome Book

Posted by demonik on September 8, 2007

Ramsey Campbell (ed) – The Gruesome Book (Piccolo, 1983)



Cover: Ivan Lapper

Ramsey Campbell – Calling Card
Nigel Kneale – The Pond
August Derleth – The Extra Passenger
Robert Bloch – Hobo
Donald A. Wollheim – Bones
Brian Lumley – The Deep-Sea Conch
Richard Matheson – Long Distance Call
Henry Kuttner – The Graveyard Rats
David Langford – 3:47 AM

Ramsey Campbell will take your breath away with the heartstopping shock and horror of these spinechilling tales. Begin your journey into nightmare with The Calling Card and end it in the ultimate horror of The Graveyard Rats.

A chillingly brilliant collection of truly gruesome stories!

WARNING: These stories are NOT to be read by the very young. 


Posted in Ramsey Campbell, Young Adult | Leave a Comment »

Ramsey Campbell – Superhorror

Posted by demonik on September 8, 2007

Ramsey Campbell (ed.) – Superhorror (W. H. Allen, 1976: Star, 1980 [as The Far Reaches Of Fear])


Cover: Don Grant

Brian Lumley – The Viaduct
R. A. Lafferty – Fog In My Throat
Daphne Castell – Christina
Joseph F. Pumilia – The Case Of James Elmo Freebish
David Drake – The Hunting Ground
Manley Wade Wellman – The Petey Car
Robert Aickman – Wood
Ramsey Campbell – The Pattern
Fritz Leiber – Dark Wings

“This is how I edited the book. I asked the contributors, or their agents, to provide the most horrifying or most terrifying stories they could. There were to be no taboos, except that the stories must not have been published elsewhere; if they were unpublishable elsewhere, so much the better”.

From Ramsey Campbell’s introduction.

Far Reaches Of Fear

Posted in *Star*, *W.H. Allen*, Ramsey Campbell | Leave a Comment »

Marjorie Bowen – Great Tales Of Horror

Posted by demonik on September 8, 2007

Marjorie Bowen (ed.) – Great Tales Of Horror  (Bodley Head, 1933)

Great Tales Of Horror - Marjorie Bowen

Preface – Marjorie Bowen

Anon – The Grey Chamber
Marjorie Bowen – The Murder Of Squire Langton
J. S. Le Fanu – Sir Dominick Sarsfield
Alexander Pushkin – The Queen Of Spades
Anon – The Two Sisters Of Cologne
Gogol – The Witch (St. John’s Eve)
Anon – A Ghost Of A Head
Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle – The Great Keinplatz Experiment
Algernon Blackwood – The Woman’s Ghost Story
Anon – The Doppelganger
Anon – The Dead Bride
Sir Walter Scott – The Tapestried Chamber
W. W. Astor – Almodoro’s Cupid
Anon – The Skull
George Macdonald – The Magic Mirror
H. G. Wells – The Red Room
Gaston LeRoux – In Letters Of Fire
Anon – The Legend Of Duneblane
Arthur Machen – The Shining Pyramid
G. P. R. James – A Night In An Old Castle

This anthology is notable for, not only some splendid stories, but a truly weird running order. If you read the stories as they appear in the book, you go from gothic to contemporary to Victorian, back and forth through the centuries. It is a very long way  from The Dead Bride to The Shining Pyramid, although, as Bowen points out in her preface:

“It will be observed that the main, perhaps the sole, difference is one of technical skill and an increased knowledge of the spiritual and mental sources of poor Gertrude with her withered garland, and Graf Hugues with his clanking bones”.

Bowen was one of the filthy five heavily criticised by Peter Penzoldt in his The Supernatural In Fiction (Humanities, 2nd edition, 1955), a study also notable for outing Arthur Machen as a wanker on the grounds of  The Novel Of The White Powder which, Penzoldt argues, reveals Machen’s deep-rooted guilt over masturbation and it’s inevitable punishment.

“Before I conclude, some mention should be made of the worst type of horror tale: that containing descriptions of sadism. These stories may appear with or without the element of the supernatural, but in any case it is never more than a pretext for introducing the cheapest kind of horror. The Most famous example is probably Kipling’s The Mark Of The Beast with its realistic descriptions of torture. Others are Thomas Burke’s The Bird, Carl Tanzler von Cosel’s  Helena’s Tomb, Mark Channing’s The Feet and Marjorie Bowen’s disgusting stories in The Bishop Of Hell.  How such tales can be constantly republished in the face of the laws against pornographic literature is an unsolved mystery.”

The “disgusting” Bowen collection includes The Crown Derby Plate, The HousekeeperThe Fair Hair Of AmbroiseFlorence FlanneryThe Bishop of HellThe Grey Chamber, The Avenging of Ann Leete and Kecksies  – many of which can be found in collections of Best Ghost/ Best Horror stories edited by Aickman, Danby, Chetwynd-Hayes …

Posted in Marjorie Bowen | Leave a Comment »

Basil Davenport – Deals With The Devil

Posted by demonik on September 8, 2007

Basil Davenport (ed.) – Deals With The Devil (Faber, 1959)

Deals With The Devil

Introduction – Basil Davenport

Isaac Asimov – The Brazen Locked Room
Miriam Allen DeFord – Time Trammel
Theodore R. Cogswell – Impact With The Devil
Anon – Doctor Faustus
Charles Dickens – The Devil And Mr. Chips
J. S. Le Fanu – Sir Dominick’s Bargain
Max Beerbohm – Enoch Soames
Lord Dunsany – A Deal With The Devil
Robert Arthur – Satan And Sam Shay
Guy De Maupassant – The Legend Of Mont St. Michel
Seumas MacManus – The Tinker Of Tamlacht
Arthur Porges – The Devil And Simon Flagg
John Masefield – The Devil And The Old Man
Frederick Beechers Perkins – Devil-Puzzlers
Henry Kuttner – Threshold
Vance Randolph – The Three Wishes
Anthony Boucher – Nellthu
Theodore R. Cogswell – Threesie
Moses Schere – A Bargain In Bodies
L. Sprague De Camp & Fletcher Pratt – Caveat Emptor
Ford McCormack – Hell-Bent
Stephen Vincent Benet – The Devil And Daniel Webster
Anon – The Countess Kathleen O’Shea
John Collier – The Devil, George And Rosie
Bruce Elliott – The Devil Was Sick

Posted in *Faber*, Basil Davenport | Leave a Comment »

John Keir Cross – Best Horror Stories

Posted by demonik on September 8, 2007

John Keir Cross (ed.) – Best Horror Stories (Faber, 1957)

Best Horror Stories 1957

John Keir Cross – Introduction

Ray Bradbury – Skeleton
Ambrose Bierce – A Watcher By The Dead
Angus Wilson – Raspberry Jam
Edgar Allan Poe – Berenice
W. F. Harvey – August Heat
Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle – Lot No. 249
John Keir Cross – The Lovers
Rudyard Kipling – The Mark Of The Beast
Graham Greene – The End Of The Party
Herman Melville – Bartleby
Hortense Calisher – Heartburn
Philip MacDonald – Our Feathered Friends
Robert Louis Stevenson – Thrawn Janet
Ray Bradbury – Mars Is Heaven
M. R. James – ‘Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come To You, My Lad’
William Faulkner – A Rose For Emily

Best Horror Stories

Posted in *Faber*, John Keir Cross | Leave a Comment »

Basil Davenport – Tales To Be Told In The Dark

Posted by demonik on September 8, 2007

Basil Davenport (ed.) – Tales To Be Told In The Dark (Faber: undated. Originally Dodd Mead, 1953)

A selection of stories from the great authors, arranged for reading and telling aloud

Basil Davenport – On Telling Stories

W. F. Harvey – The Beast With Five Fingers
Stephen Hall – By One, By Two, By Three
Saki – Sredni Vashtar
Lord Dunsany – The Two Bottles Of Relish
Margaret Irwin – The Book
John Collier – Thus I Refute Beelzy
James Thurber – The Whip-Poor-Will
Arthur Machen – The White People
Lafcadio Hearn – Mujina
Saki – The Open Window
Anonymous – Two Anecdotes
Anonymous – The Closed Cabinet
Basil Davenport – The Closed Cabinet, Retold

Davenport includes notes on all of the stories, many of which will be familiar (the Hall and Dunsany horrors were revived by Van Thal and the Saki brace turn up just about everywhere). The editor does a fine job but the final three items – especially the two versions of The Closed Cabinet (Victorian melodrama minus the drama) – are something of a waste. As E. F. Bleiler puts it: Davenport, recognizing that “The Closed Cabinet” is cumbersome, badly plotted and barely intelligible, has shortened the narrative greatly and reworked the story. It was not worth the effort.

Davenport also edited Ghostly Tales To Be Told (Dodd Mead, 1950) and Deals With The Devil (Dodd Mead, 1958).

Posted in *Faber*, Basil Davenport | Leave a Comment »

Stephen Jones – Mammoth Book Of New Terror

Posted by demonik on September 8, 2007

Stephen Jones (ed.) – Mammoth Book Of New Terror (Robinson, 2004)

John Picacio

Stephen Jones – Introduction: Recreating The Terror

Brian Lumley – Fruiting Bodies
Charles L. Grant – Needle Song
Christopher Fowler – Turbo-Satan
Dennis Etchison – Talking In The Dark
Sydney J. Bounds – The Circus
F. Paul Wilson – Foet
Basil Copper – The Candle In The Skull
Ramsey Campbell – The Chimney
Phyllis Eisenstein – Dark Wings
Graham Masterton – Reflections Of Evil
E. C. Tubb – Mirror Of The Night
Brian Mooney – Maypole
Terry Lamsley – Under The Crust
Lisa Tuttle – Tir Nan Og
R. Chetwynd-Hayes – A Living Legend
David J. Schow – Wake-Up Call
Karl E. Wagner – The Fourth Seal
Tanith Lee & John Kaiine – Unlocked
Neil Gaiman – Closing Time
Pat Cadigan – It Was The Heat
Tim Lebbon & Brian Keene – Fodder
Michael Marshall Smith – Open Doors
Caitlin R. Kiernan – Andromeda Among The Stones
Glen Hirshberg – Flowers On Their Bridles, Hooves In The Air
Kim Newman – Amerikanski Dead At The Moscow Morgue or: Children Of Marx And Coca Cola
David Case – Among The Wolves

Charles L. Grant – Needle Song:When the ancient lady first moved into the ‘haunted house’ at 136 with her spartan possessions, it seemed as though she’d brought good fortune with her. The neighbourhood prospered:

“The snowmen were bigger, the snow forts more elaborate and Eric’s father came home twice with promotions and once with a car big enough to hold thousands … Eric discovered he had a natural talent for musical instruments … and his teacher told him in all honesty that one day he would be famous. Jackie Potter’s family won a state lottery … and there seemed nothing at all wrong in standing by the front window and listening to the piano drawing them closer … It wasn’t that way any more, and it was all because of a vampire witch who sucked them dry with her music.”

Eric and Caren are wise to the old girl’s intentions and attempt to defeat her in psychic conflict.

At turns reminiscent of Ray Bradbury and Philip K. Dick’s The Cookie Lady.

Sydney J. Bounds – The Circus: Arthur Bragg, a reporter whose career has been dedicated to exposing hoaxes and phonies, chances upon a travelling circus when his car breaks down in the West Country. The handwritten poster reads; “Before your very eyes, werewolf into man! See the vampire rise from his coffin! Bring the children – invest in a sense of wonder!”
Dutifully, the Sunday Herald scribe attends the event, and it is a truly spectacular show. Along with the advertised attractions, ringmaster Dr. Nis introduces a mummy and an animated corpse.

After the performance, an outraged Bragg confronts Dr. Dis in his caravan. He is not unexpected.

Basil Copper – The Candle In The Skull: Little Kathy is blabbering on about how she’s going to have a skull for Halloween, but her father Martin isn’t listening – he never does, not having any time for the child who seems in some way uncanny. Besides, the brilliant scientist is preoccupied with his women trouble. Of late Janet has threatened to call at the house and make a scene in front of his wife Charlotte. There’s only one thing for it: Charlotte will have to “disappear” and then the wretched Kathy can be put into care.
Hearing a noise in his laboratory, he sneaks up on his wife from behind and bashes her with an iron bar, then dumps the corpse into the acid tank before returning to his room. But later, when he comes to, he hears Charlotte calling to him: has he only dreamt that he murdered her?
Rushing to investigate, he takes a header down the cellar steps …

Kathy shows off her prize skull to her mother before setting out for trick or treat mischief. “Don’t you think it looks like Auntie Janet?” she innocently enquires …

Pat Cadigan – It Was The Heat: New Orleans. At a hotel in the French quarter, a thirty-five year old businesswoman is seduced by a loa. Consequently, she is always freezing. She summons back her demon lover by sitting in the fire.

Michael Marshall Smith – Opening Doors: Whenever the protagonist likes the look of a house, he knocks at the door, overpowers whoever answers and moves in, taking the identity of the husband or boyfriend. He’s fed up posing as a TV repairman – he can’t hack the job anyhow – so another change of scenery is in order.

Christopher Fowler – Turbo-Satan: “Tower Hamlets, toilet of the world, arse-end of the universe … no money, no dope, no fags, no booze, nothing to do, nowhere to go, no-one who cared if he went missing for all eternity … I have absolutely nothing to look forward to … I hate my life …”

My first thoughts on reading this was “some bastard’s been reading my diary!”, but then I remembered I don’t keep one and besides, this is well written. It’s Fowler’s updating of the Deal with the Devil motif for the digital age with phony art student Mats discovering a hot-line to Satan on his mobile. At first, he makes a few sensible requests – “make the bus driver give me £10”, etc. – but blows it when he starts trying to be clever.

F. Paul Wilson – Foet: It’s the must-have fashion accessory and, for all her anti-abortion campaigning, Denise is not going to be left behind.

David Case – Among The Wolves: Another excellent Case novella, this one revived from the mighty Fengriffen And Other Stories: While researching the habits of wolves in the wild, ecologist Edward Claymore lost a leg when it was caught in a bear trap. Prior to hacking it off, he spent hours surrounded by the pack but showed sufficient guts and will to live for them to leave him be. The incident has coloured his thinking as to how society should deal with its burdens, the infirm, the weak and retarded. Is he in some way connected with the recent spate of sadistic murders under investigation by Inspector Smart and his team or is there some supernatural menace loose in the community?

Posted in Stephen Jones | Leave a Comment »

Anne Riddler – Best Ghost Stories

Posted by demonik on September 8, 2007

Anne Riddler (ed.)  – Best Ghost Stories (Faber, 1945)

Anne Riddler – Prefatory Note

Thomas Lovell Beddoes – The Phantom Wooer
J. S. Le Fanu – Narrative Of The Ghost Of A Hand
Wilkie Collins – The Dream Woman
Henry James – The Friends Of The Friends
Guy de Maupassant – Who Knows?
Oscar Wilde – The Canterville Ghost
Edith Wharton – The Triumph Of Night
M. R. James – Lost Hearts
Rudyard Kipling – The House Surgeon
H. G. Wells – The Inexperienced Ghost
E. F. Benson – The Face
Algernon Blackwood – With Intent To Steal
Saki – The Open Window
Walter De La Mare – Crewe
W. F. Harvey – The Tool
Carter Dickson – Blind Man’s Hood
Philip MacDonald – Our Feathered Friends
Elizabeth Bowen – The Apple Tree
John Collier – Thus I Refute Beelzy
Walter De La Mare – The Listeners

Posted in *Faber*, Anne Riddler | Leave a Comment »

Peter Haining (ed) -Weird Tales

Posted by demonik on September 8, 2007

Peter Haining -Weird Tales – A Fascimile Of The World’s Most Famous Fantasy Magazine (Neville Spearman, 1976; Sphere, 1978[2 vols])




Introduction – Peter Haining

Edmond Hamilton – The Man Who Returned
Robert E. Howard – Black Hound of Death
August Derleth – The Shuttered House
Seabury Quinn – Frozen Beauty
H. P. Lovecraft – Beyond the Wall of Sleep
Clark Ashton Smith – The Garden of Adompha
Virgil Finlay – The Horns Of Elfland [illustration]
Henry Kuttner – Beyond the Phoenix
G. G. Pendarves – The Black Monk
Henry S. Whitehead – The Passing Of A God
[The Eyrie: Readers Letters]
Manly Wade Wellman – The Valley Was Still
[‘It Happened To Me’: True Psychic Experiences]
Nictzin Dyalhis – The Heart of Atlantan
[Calling All Fantasy Fans]
Fritz Leiber – The Phantom Slayer
[Weird Tales Club]
Robert Bloch – The Beasts of Barsac
Ray Bradbury – Bang! You’re Dead!
[Stay Tuned For Terror: Ad. for Robert Bloch radio series]
[The Eyrie: Readers Letters]
Theodore Sturgeon – Cellmate
H. P. Lovecraft – The Familiars [verse]
Algernon Blackwood – Roman Remains
Eric Frank Russell – Displaced Person
H. Russell Wakefield – From the Vasty Deep
Mary Elizabeth Counselman – The Shot-Tower Ghost
Allison V. Harding – Take the Z-Train
[Lee Brown Coye – Weirdisms]
Margaret St. Clair – The Little Red Owl
Anthony M. Rud – Ooze

Spoilers/ Tasters, etc

Edmond Hamilton – The Man Who Returned: John Woodward awakens to find himself encoffined in the family vault. Buried alive! Terrified, he struggles and scrapes until he eventually frees himself, and staggers off home to tell his wife the good news. A lot has changed in the time he’s been away …

Margaret St. Clair – The Little Red Owl: Unhinged uncle Charles takes sadistic pleasure in tormenting little Peter and Carlotta with horrible tales of the tortures inflicted on the little red owl by Vulture Man. He even goes so far as to have a picture of the victim printed and inserted into a magic painting book at great expense. As the tale progresses, he lapses into complete madness and sets fire to the house in a final attempt to destroy the children.

Manly Wade Wellman – The Valley Was Still: Paradine, a Confederate, stumbles upon a valley littered with the undecayed corpses of Yankee soldiers. The black magician, Teague, has hypnotised them: he plans to rule the country, and offers Paradine the Generalship of his private army. The pious rebel will have none of it and smartly decapitates the wretch, destroys the talisman and frees the Union soldiers. In the ensuing conflict he and his comrades are all but routed but, reasons Paradine, if you can’t win fair …

Fritz Leiber – The Phantom Slayer: The narrator, down on his luck, is remembered in the will of an uncle, David Rhode, an ex-police officer, who leaves him free board for three months. Rooting through the dead man’s effects, he discovers stacks of press clippings and ephemera relating to a Ripper-like serial killer. The unnamed hero suffers from terrible nightmares – in which he witnesses two of the murders – accompanied by worrying OOB experiences. Slipping into his uncles uniform, he sleepwalks down town and approaches a little girl ….

Eric Frank Russell – Displaced Person: Narrator meets a stranger in Central Park. He learns that the man is some kind of refugee, unwelcome in his own country after leading a revolt against tyranny. His army was defeated and banished. He bemoans the loss and bitterly condemns the enemies’ manipulation of the media and their ceaseless propaganda campaign versus himself. We guess long before the narrator just who he’s been exchanging pleasantries with.

Seabury Quinn – Frozen Beauty: Dr. Paviovitch is assassinated by Tsarists before he can revive Nikokova, the girl he froze when illness prevented her fleeing the country with he and her lover. De Grandin releases the girl from her twenty-year suspended animation and takes out the entire evil death squad.

August Derleth – The Panelled Room: Mrs. Lydia Grant moves into the house on Main St. against all advice. Seventeen years previous, Peter Mason killed his wife then hung himself in the panelled room, and successive residents have been troubled by their ghosts. Her sister, Irma, is delighted when Lydia sees the ghastly apparitions – she stands to inherit the property on the elder woman’s death – but comes unstuck when Mrs. Grant is strangled by unseen hands. One of Derleth’s best – horrible ending!

Robert E. Howard – Black Hound Of Death: Egypt. The psychotic Tope Braxton breaks jail, killing two men in the process. Kirby Garfield, the narrator, goes to warn the reclusive Richard Brent of the escape. Passing through the woods he meets a dying negro, hideously mutilated, who looks as though a pack of dogs have torn him apart, although he insists with his last breath that a white man he was guiding to Brent’s hideout performed these abominations.

Garfield is soon attacked himself, but escapes to alert Brent, who obviously knows more than he’s letting on about the murder and comes on all terrified at mention of the word “hounds”.It transpires that, some years earlier, Brent had left his friend Adam Grimm to be tortured by the Devil Monks of Mongolia while he made a run for it, and these fiends had transformed Grimm into a werewolf. Sworn to vengeance, he has teamed up with Braxton and together they cut a bloody swathe through the land as they hones in on their target. They’ve also lured Brent’s neice, Gloria, from New York for the purpose of skinning her alive.

The ‘bloke who get’s tortured in the jungle and goes all surly about it’ theme is also used to good effect in Seabury Quinn’s Suicide Chapel (a far better De Grandin than the average Frozen Beauty.

Posted in *Neville Spearman*, Peter Haining | 1 Comment »

Peter Haining – A Circle Of Witches

Posted by demonik on September 8, 2007

Peter Haining (ed.) – A Circle Of Witches: An Anthology Of Victorian Witchcraft Stories  (Robert Hale, 1971)

Circle Of Witches

Introduction – Peter Haining

Part One: Fact

Mrs. E. Lynn Linton – Witchcraft In England
Mrs. E. Lynn Linton – The Witches Of Scotland
Lady Wilde – Irish Witch Tales
Miss Mary Lewis – Witchcraft And Wizardry In Wales

Part Two: Fiction

Mrs. H. L. – The Magic Ring
Lady Duff-Gordon – The Amber Witch
Anon – The Witch Spectre
Catherine Crowe – Possessed By Demons
Amelia Edwards – My Brother’s Ghost Story
Anna Bonus Kingsford – The Enchanted Woman
The Hon. Mrs. Greene – Bound By A Spell
Mrs. Ethel Marriott-Watson – The Witch Of The Marsh
Pauline Mackie – Ye Lyttle Salem Maide
Mrs. Baillie Reynolds – A Witch Burning
Mrs. H. D. Everett – A Water Witch
Beatrice Heron-Maxwell – The Devil Stone
Jessie Adelaide Middleton – Black Magic
Mrs. Hugh Fraser – The Satanist

Posted in *Robert Hale*, Peter Haining | Leave a Comment »